Princeton ended a two-match losing streak by beating Villanova 14-8 on Tuesday. Princeton played aggressively on offense and found some sound defense from their star goaltender.
Villanova and Princeton both entered Tuesday night looking to make a statement against a quality opponent.
A year ago, Villanova traveled to Princeton and won a nail-biter. This win would propel the Wildcats to one of the best years in program history, ending with an NCAA Tournament loss at Denver.
This year, Villanova was not flying under anyone's radar. Ranked No. 10 going into Tuesday's match, Princeton knew they were facing a strong squad outside of Philadelphia.
Princeton had lost two straight, with close losses to No. 2 Johns Hopkins and No. 8 UNC. Looking to get back on track, the Tigers had to put the losses in the rear view mirror and get psyched for a mid-week monster away from home.
The Tigers were looking for quality goaltending out of their All-American Tyler Fiorito, who had shown vulnerability in Princeton's losses. On Tuesday, Fiorito came to play, making 11 saves and boasting a 58 percent save rate.
Villanova's go-to guy Kevin Cunningham was held to one goal on Tuesday night. Cunningham, a Big East and National Player of the Year Candidate, was held scoreless by Princeton's Chad Wiedmaier, a perennial All-American in his own right.
When Cunningham did find the back of the net, it was when he found an opportunity against a short-stick defender behind the goal.
The Wildcats relied on Michael Vigilante for their scoring as he netted three goals in the loss. His shot selection with time and room was impressive, only outdone by his accuracy and velocity on those shots.
Will Villanova bounce back to beat Maryland on Saturday?
Villanova goalie Dan Gutierrez struggled in net, making only six saves on his way to a 30 percent save rate at home Tuesday night.
His struggles were caused by a Princeton offense that showed great vigor and aggressiveness as it tore apart a stingy Villanova defense.
Princeton junior Jeff Froccaro, a converted midfielder, had a huge night at attack. He scored five goals and added two assists as he had his way with the defenders behind the cage. His ability to create and handle the ball in tight spaces allowed him to get some high percentage opportunities to score.
He now has 10 goals and three assists on the season, as he gets used to his new position on the field.
Sophomore sensation Tom Schreiber was his normal self, adding five goals of his own to go along with one assist on the night. One of his goals was a one-handed backhand shot that drew ooh's and ah's from both team's fans and players. He now has 24 points on the season, averaging almost five per game.
Tucker Shanley, Alex Capretta, and Kip Orban each chipped in a goal for the Tigers as well.
Princeton was able to get back on track, looking good on both sides of the field. Short-stick defenders Jack Strabo, Nick Fernandez and Chris White once again shined against tough assignments last night.
Moving forward, Villanova will hit the road to face a tough and talented Maryland team on Saturday afternoon. Meanwhile, Princeton will start an always tough Ivy-League schedule as they host local rival Penn.